Patrick Michael Hughes Men's Fashion Editor
The New York Fashion Week Men’s portion has quickly come to an end with a wide variety of presentations, runway shows and even a holograph of men’s clothing for the Fall 2018 season. The fashion season in New York is a complex landscape full of hedges to jump, the balance of business and showmanship, quality and seasonal progression. A question that is often asked is what is New York Fashion Week Men’s? IRK discovered an interesting twist on heritage, an optimistic an experimental debut and creatively crafted performing sexuality.
Independent fashion brand Descendant of Thieves by Dres Ladro was founded in 2009 with co-founder and creative director Matteo Maniatty. The brands name is a play on the Italian origins and translation of family names. The sought after and growing brand showed once again on the first day of the NYFW Men’s season at New York Men’s Day. This is the second time IRK has seen the collection wonderfully conceived set design the staging is always paramount. This season’s collection Maniatty states, “ We were inspired by the traditional yet controversial English Fox Hunt. We considered the fox hunts strict clothing etiquette when building the collection into three distinct and competing teams. However, there is a twist on the interpretation of the hunt. Our version of ‘a fox’ is someone who is handsome, chic and a distinctive dandy.”
Beyond the retro cheek of ‘he’s a fox’, there was tremendous substance and beautiful clothing in this collection. It ranged from sharply tailored suits, in pinstripe to speckled wool pants paired with a pink Fair Isle inspired knit, and a striking Prince of Wales check jumpsuit with hunting patch details. The great outdoors went further highlighting playful on trend for fall floral fabric 'Mack jackets' and puffer vest details with knit sleeves and backs. Some the standout details spotted were in a plush fabric cardigan, which included ribbon placket details, and leather pocket finishes. From cape like beast pieces ready for the moors to printed silk ascots and shirts for the manor this collection had style.
This was by far one of the standout collections of the season and clearly the poised brand with the excellent retail reputation set to set to take off. The brand has a select worldwide distribution conscious of avoiding mass production.
TAAKK created by designer Takuya Morikawa made its US debut at New York Men’s Day. Morikawa is a graduate of the prestigious Bunka Fashion College in Japan. He has worked for ten years as a designer for the Paris collection of Issey Miyake and Issey Miyake Men.
The title of the collection for fall was ‘Basic Oddity’. It was created with ‘experimental yet exceptional techniques aiming to defy traditional notions of reality itself.’ Morikawa is interested in ‘creating clothing through a fusion of familiar things… A fresh perspective revives the assumed mundane’. The presentation was a brightly lit space with barefoot models (a noted element at another collection for fall/winter season) with hazard tape printed with the brands name. What was striking about this collection was the combination of experimental never to be produced DIY pieces in tape completing looks and highly worked denim fabric. Japanese technology and denim aesthetic and technology has surpassed the American variations. What was new about the denim in this collection was how it was distressed to reveal the distinctive raw cotton threading and fiber all the while creating an 'Ikat like' texture leading to the look of a new fabric.
Gender fluid silhouettes were also part of the high concept collection. There was a wonderful black and white dress with large-scale proportions. Graphic plush camouflage patterns, and digital printed haute athletic-street looks highlighted the next generation in fabric and digital in with a brush stroke plaid look.
This was a skillful and enjoyable collection debut full of concepts and optimistic first steps into the New York fashion fray.
“Find Your Group of Misfits and Levitate Together” this was the collection battle cry from Mexican designer Barbara Sanchez-Kane. She was trained as an industrial engineer in Mexico and then earned a fashion design degree from the top tier Polimoda in Florence. She is an activist feminist and advocate for gender equality. Her collections are known for political statements and performance.
For Fall 2018, IRK stopped backstage before the show to capture some of the fluid looks and the dramatic styling. This season Sanchez-Kane tackled sexual oppression in Mexico. The runway collection began with the choreography of Cesar Brodermann for two male dancers in jock straps and orange leg coverings adding plaster to two large phallus sculptures on the runway. Performance is fairly rare at NYFW Men and politically provocative almost non-existent except during an election year. This was a welcome jolt like the periodic crashing of dropped china of at the end of the runway. The creation of space, impulsive feelings intimately connected curiosity of exchanging beats was at the heart of the heart of this collection.
It was reminiscent of what IRK was seeing in London this past season, sharp cultural commentary with substance. Sanchez- Kane’s clothing was also of great substance and imagination. Highly tailored looks with imaginative details such as side seam fins, adding a new three-dimensional take on the panel trend. Peak lapels in pinstripe highlighting strong shoulder looks and the same construction was echoed at the side of the jacket creating an opening to show off belted the high-waist pants adding further dimension to the fabric, pattern and overall silhouette. This also was a great take on the popular conversation print and themes seen currently in many women's runway collections.
The opening runway track was by artist Laurie Anderson’s ‘O Superman’ was Sanchez- Kane giving hints to the intensity of her clothing construction a technique tour-de-force seen throughout Sanchez –Kane’s work. One of the white cotton shirts in the collection captured this type of playful technique, where breast pockets would be there were two openings with spread collar details, ‘freeing the nipple’.
What was Mexican in this collection, were the color palates of the knits they were reminiscent of traditional painting, pottery, graphic graffiti as well as the hyphen in the brands logo. The accessories such as hats, condom hairpieces, and phallus neck-wear were styled by Nayeli De Alba. It worked well with the make-up created by Daniel Avilan and hairstylist Timothy Aylward it was just enough to hammer the Sanchez- Kane Fall 2018 collection and advocate agenda to an excellent crescendo.
This was as the collection statement quoted Solrac “promise yourself there is no need for permission to create” … statement and creativity were at the core of this collection